Why is PowerSchool the SIS of choice for California’s Fullerton School District — a national leader in technology, innovation, and education? According to Jay McPhail, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Instructional Support, one significant reason is PowerSchool’s deep commitment to genuine innovation for the ultimate benefit of students’ success.
“Our district has technology in use for what it can do, not for what it is. For us that’s providing a personalized learning path for our students,” McPhail says. “Regardless of what your grade level is or what your passion might be in terms of learning, we believe that we can provide that using technology. And part of that learning process is providing timely feedback in terms of assessments, grades, and attendance as we go forward. PowerSchool helps give us that main feedback system. It gives us a quick and easy way for parents to see where students are and also provides a transparent way for everyone to collaborate in that student’s education.”
In addition to innovation, PowerSchool also helps make everyday jobs easier and more productive for Fullerton school staff and teachers as it serves its 13,500 students.
“I love how easy it is to use; it truly is. PowerSchool is just straightforward and pretty much unbeatable,” says Beci Weed, Fullerton Technology Support Specialist.
Adds Trish Behlings, also a Tech Support Specialist, “PowerSchool is incredibly user friendly. The front user face is so easy to find what you need. Whether you’re looking at reports, or looking at student data, everything is right there.”
Formed in 1888, Fullerton serves 13,700 students within 15 elementary schools, two K-8 campuses, and three junior high schools. The district, which boasts a District Academic Performance Index of 867, far above the statewide average of 788, has been a national leader in the transition to digital learning. In 2014, it participated in the first-ever national ConnectED Superintendents Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2014, and it’s received recognition for a variety of innovative programs that ensure equitable access to digital learning, including 1:1 iPad Visible Innovation Program (VIP), iPersonalize, and All the Arts for All the Kids.
With a proven track record as a national leader in technology and education, Fullerton is an ideal fit for the PowerSchool student information system, which is the industry leader in district essentials such as student data management, ease-of-use, mobile app technology, and compliance reporting.
“We believe PowerSchool is at the front of that wave of technology and education,” says McPhail. “They continue to innovate. Innovation is not a ‘destination’ and PowerSchool understands that. We use technology to its most effective level to be as transparent as we can within our community, with our parents, with our kids, and everyone throughout the system. To do that, you need systems capable of gathering data, disseminating data, and making it easy to get to. PowerSchool takes that information, whether it’s grades, attendance, or anything of interest to the parents and makes it available to them in an easy-to-use format.”
Fullerton is impressed with PowerSchool’s innovative, easy-to-use dashboards within the SIS, and how they are useful for key stakeholders to impact a student’s ultimate success. “PowerSchool provides in a very easy, visual interface whether or not intervention needs to happen with a student. It’s valuable to be able to ‘chunk’ down information so the student knows where they’re at and how they’re doing in terms of attendance, grades, and progress. The parent knows where they’re at, the teacher knows where they’re at, the administrator knows where they’re at, and we know where they’re at. It’s transparent.”
To ensure maximum district and school funding, dedicated compliance reporting functionality and support are fundamental for the Fullerton School District. PowerSchool’s superior SIS reporting capabilities, combined with our expert, dedicated Compliance team that constantly monitors new requirements and customer requests, offer customers such as Fullerton SD a best-in-class solution.
“We are required by the state of California to do very specific things in terms of reporting, and PowerSchool is our direct partner in that conversation and leading the way,” says McPhail.
“The PowerSchool state reporting is wonderful, especially for CALPADS state reporting,” adds Behlings. “They’ve kept constantly up to date with any changes, and it makes my reporting much easier. I just go in and set up my reports, pull it out, send it to CALPADS, and it works great. We have monthly calls (with PowerSchool’s Compliance Team), and great communication with PowerSchool Support for state reporting.”
The PowerSchool SIS supports more than 70 reports and submissions to meet all California Department of Education requirements, including easy-to-use CALPADS reporting. PowerSchool’s Compliance team meets regularly with Fullerton School District users responsible for state reporting submissions, and our State Reporting Development team meets with the California Focus Group, a subset of California PowerSchool districts, to help set the direction for upcoming development. PowerSchool California Product Management also meets biweekly with the state of California on CALPADS updates.
Fullerton School District recognizes that PowerSchool’s robust mobile apps are an essential form of parent engagement, and have a genuine impact on student growth and performance. The mobile app, used by more than seven million parents and students, offer real-time push notifications to check grades, attendance, and assignments.
“It’s great to keep students informed to teach them how to be responsible,” says Behlings. “They can get important notifications, see their grades or attendance, or look at the daily bulletin for any activities going on at the school. It’s just a great overall product.”
“We are excited that PowerSchool understands the need for mobile access and continues to refine that mobile access – even to the point of providing very easy to understand dashboards at that mobile device so a student or parent can quickly see how they’re doing and react accordingly. We know we have to deliver on a mobile platform in an easy and seamless way, and PowerSchool has led the way with their mobile app,” says McPhail.
PowerSchool takes care of its customers, and knows the importance of a comprehensive understanding of the product to maximize its effectiveness. In addition to a dedicated technical support team available by both phone and chat, PowerSchool offers online, unlimited, self-paced training and expert-led webinars, the PowerSource user site, PowerSchool University training, and participates in PowerSchool user groups throughout the U.S.
“With PowerSchool, there’s so much help and extra support available behind the scenes. In addition to customer support, there is PSU and user groups. Having high-level users from all over the world who collaborate and support you is just awesome,” says Weed.
“PowerSchool is very responsive of our needs, up and down the tree, whether that be from a support level to a feature level. I can pick up the phone most any time of day and get the help I need,” adds McPhail.
PowerSchool is proud to partner with one of the nation’s leading educational and technological districts. As we continue to provide Fullerton School District with an innovative, efficient, easy-to-use student information system, we look forward to seeing the positive results as students find and pursue their educational passions.
The district’s ultimate goal with the use of technology is to ensure students are college or career ready. Fullerton focuses on providing a pathway for students to find and pursue their passions, according to McPhail.
“Technology serves as that underlying support for helping students on their path,” says McPhail. “An SIS is the heart of a school system, and what PowerSchool does for us is bring that heart into one location. And now it’s expanding out to muscles and bones because our learning system includes teaching, learning and assessment. The SIS that you choose will have a direct impact on all of those things. With an SIS, I’m looking for a partner, not a vendor. Someone who delivers, and someone at the front end of the technology curve. PowerSchool fits the bill.”
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